Thursday, October 25, 2007

OMG... Dumbledore is Gay

Man, I bet the Harry Potter film peeps wished they had tapped Sir Ian McKellan to play that role now! It would have been so perfect! Anyhoo, for those of you that live under a rock and have missed the official announcement (much like Ladytron who kind of didn't make it to work yesterday and therefore hadn't been on the internet or watched live TV - long live DVR - since Friday afternoon): Rowling outted the beloved headmaster at Carnegie Hall on October 19th. Many have already blogged about this theory before, and I'm sure are now thrilled to have their suspicions validated.
Now, the real question for many is - was this something that Jo has always known, or is she just trying to give the phenom that is Potter-mania EVEN longer legs? It's easy to see both sides. Dumbledore's relationship with Grindelwald can certainly be (and has been) read that way. On the other hand, many could easily read that as a simple close relationship between heterosexual adolescent boys (like, say, perhaps that of Harry and Ron - or of James and Sirius). Of course, Dumbledore's love of the ladies was never discussed, but the headmaster always seemed (to me, at least) to be a character that was just somehow above such trifling things as sex or relationships. He just always seemed to have a higher purpose.
So what do I think? I really don't care. Whether she decided to just give into all the speculation and make Dumbledore gay, or whether she planned it from the beginning…whichever way, J.K. Rowling has done a great thing. In today's movies, TV shows, and even books, gay characters often fall into a stereotypical pigeonhole, or somehow become defined solely by the fact that they are "gay." Rowling has created a character that is beloved by many for who is he is as a person, a role-model, and a leader - and now, who just happens to be gay. And if that helps promote a new level of understanding or tolerance among even a fraction of those millions of fans, then more power to Rowling.
[update: Upon re-reading this, I realized it lacks the snark that many (by which I mean all 5 of you dear loyal readers) of you have come to expect. I promise that my next post will be much more withering and critical of all things literary. Thank you for your patience. ]

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Quills – from the Editor’s date’s perspective

So, I convinced the Editor to bestow his extra $100 ticket on me in exchange for dropping a few E! style lines about the Quills. First off, I had the pleasure of accidentally finding myself standing next to Amy Sedaris at the pre-awards reception ($100 gets you an hour of free champagne – awesome. but no snacks – boo.), and she was adorable. Very tiny in person, in a green velvet dress with a giant feather across the skirt. And a matching little feathery purse! Totes adorable. I passed Al Roker a couple times, but I’d met him before and really he’s just kind of a short, rotund man – although he always does look cheerful and that goes a long way in my book (ha ha. book! get it? 'cause it's a book cer...oh, never mind). Brooke Shields also walked right by me, and she was a totally hottie – very tall, svelte and not as manly/tranny as pictures have led me to believe. And she had on a gorgeous black silk gown – her boobs looked great. As mentioned above, she did tower over poor Tiki.

On the way into the theater, I managed to lock eyes with Rocco DiSpirito, who I swear stared soulfully into mine. Or perhaps he was just trying to figure out why the hobbling crazy lady (my shoes were killing me) was trying to burn holes in his face with her eyes. Whatevs. As soon as I had broken away from his smoldering gaze, I heard a lovely British accent and caught of flash of red hair. OMG, I was standing mere inches from the original Fergie – Weight Watchers spokesperson and Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson. She was quickly swept away however, and the Editor was way ahead of me (with my ticket, I should add) due to my gawking and limping. So I rushed on and off to him and our seats.
What followed (as described in the Editor’s post above) was long and excruciating. It turns out that my best celeb spotting was already over. Except for Stephen Colbert, of course. Oh, and Lorraine Braco. I hadn’t noticed her in the lobby, and I can’t resist Dr. Melfi. Her dress was very sparkly and her legs looked as hot as usual. Other than that, a bunch of really old authors. Oh – and Joan Allen! Love her. But, I have to say, she walked a bit like a man. Maybe her feet hurt? I bet she didn’t have to take the subway there like some people I know (ahem, me), so I see no reason why her tootsies would be in pain. Also – she’s very skinny. Which I’ve always known but her neckline was really plunging (appropriate for book ceremony?) and I couldn’t help but notice all her little bones.

Now, I had been told that Ann Curry would be co-hosting these awards. And that was a big selling point for me. I don’t know why, but I love that woman. She’s so pretty and adorable, and she always seems like she really cares about stuff that’s happening in the world. And she’s willing to look like an idiot for fluff pieces on the Today Show. Yay! However, apparently, Ann cares too much because she was off reporting in Palestine or Pakistan or some P-country, so some other lady (they claimed a co-host of the Today Show, but I sometimes watch that and I’ve never seen her) hosted. Her name was weird, but she seemed to do well and seemed pleasant enough. And she and Al had a nice banter going on, so fine. But still. I really wanted to see Ann Curry.

And that my friends, was that. The Editor and I did manage to grab some of the yummy hor d’oerves for the after party on our way out, but with my feet aching and a champagne headache setting in, we silently made our exit.

"The Latin Grammy’s of Publishing…" or something like that

is what Stephen Colbert called the 2007 Quill award ceremonies in his opening speech and he couldn’t have been more wrong. I don’t think there was one Latino in the Rose Theatre Monday night (certainly not among the presenters or winners – perhaps on staff?). The awards ceremony was PAINFULLY slow and long. One quarter of the award recipients didn’t show (well, 2 of them were dead, but still!) and Al Roker (while a fine weatherman) is not the best of producers. During the 2 and a half hour taping of the ceremony there were many awkward moments. The audience wasn’t prepped accordingly and not given any cues on when to applaud when they returned from commercial break. The teleprompter set at the back of the theater was incredibly inadequate (and very distracting to those who could see it. I couldn't resist turning around to read along on numerous occasions). Ventriloquist Jeff Dunham (apparently he’s famous – I had to Wikipedia him) and his crotchety old man puppet Walter (who looked suspiciously like some of the elder publishers on hand) had to have the thing rewound several times and redo an entire bit. And poor Mary Higgins Clark misread Sissy Spacek as "Suzy" even though it was typed in 114 pt font. It wasn’t quite as bad as Elizabeth Taylor’s "Glaaaaadddddiaaaaator" presentation at the 2001 Golden Globes, but I still had some concern that Bobby Bacala was going to need to carry her offstage before they could squeeze out all three awards.

That was another thing. Why have two presenters each give out multiple awards? And, even worse, awards that had nothing to do with one another? Religion, Thriller, and Audio? Or how about Cookbooks and Children’s Books? Oh, and the pairings! Brooke Shields and Tiki Barber (who is way short, at least next to Glamazon Shields)? Fergie (as in Sarah, Duchess of York) and Rocco diSpirito? And two members of the Sopranos? Look, I know all of those people have written a book at one time or another, but come on. That’s the best we could do? Al Gore couldn’t even be bothered to pick up his award – he sent his daughter (not author Kristin – the other one). The man presented at the MTV Movie Awards, and he can’t come to the Quills?

The official Quill Awards website calls the event "the only book awards to pair a populist sensibility with Hollywood-style glitz." Sadly, the only time the two really meet is when a book is turned into a film (congrats to the Bourne Identity Trilogy for winning the Variety magazine book-to-film Award). The ceremony was woefully unattended with orchestra seating not even at capacity and mezzanine and balcony empty except for the box seats. Even worse, was that after 2 hours of mind numbing television production with no suspense because all the award winners had already been announced, at least ¼ of the audience had left leaving gaping holes in the seating. The worst insult, though, was the time limit imposed on the authors. Why give presenters a good 2-3 minutes of insane banter and then only allow the award winner 20-30 seconds. They won an award because their words mean something. Can’t we trust that when they talk, the words they speak will mean the same or more?
do tell,
The Editor